Charlotte Gannon, family law solicitor at Leeds-based Blacks Solicitors.
What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career?
The introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Child Arrangements Programme specifically in relation to private children law cases, which is an area I have a keen interest in. This reformed the court process, put emphasis on out of court dispute resolution and altered the terminology within proceedings. In the profession we experienced the changes on a very practical level. There was also the introduction of the ‘presumption of parental involvement’, which states that unless it is demonstrated otherwise, the involvement of both parents in a child’s life will further that child’s welfare. This brought the law more in line with social attitudes about the family unit.
What law would you like to see changed?
The law relating to cohabitees. Theresa May has announced civil partnerships will be available to heterosexual couples and whilst this gives couples more options, there is still inadequate protection for those wanting to remain cohabitees.
What is the most exciting work you’ve ever done?
Assisting clients in relation to emergency applications, often arising where there is a potential risk of harm to a child. Perhaps described as challenging rather than exciting but I like being able to provide urgent support and advice in times when clients need us most.
Who in the legal world do you most admire?
The Right Hon Baroness Hale who became the first female President of the Supreme Court. She’s had an inspiring career and I admire the way she uses her position to promote diversity and equality, both in the profession and in the law.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
Don’t be blinkered. There are many different paths you can take in the profession.